German Clean Energy Shift Can Ignore Storage for Now, Study Says

Germany’s shift toward renewable energy can do without new storage infrastructure in the next two decades as it’s too expensive, according to a new study.

Integrating storage units such as batteries into the power transmission network would increase annual costs by as much as 2.5 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in 2023 and up to 3.3 billion euros in 2033, according to a study commissioned by Agora Energiewende.

Storage could save, in a best-care scenario, as much as 2.3 billion euros a year with 90 percent renewable power, it said. Agora is owned by the Mercator Foundation and European Climate Foundation is involved in promoting action on climate change.

“We don’t really need new storage devices in the next 10 to 20 years” as cross-border power trade, demand management and intelligent steering of fossil-fired power plants can ensure flexible electricity flows at less money, Patrick Graichen, head of Agora, told reporters today in Berlin.

While renewables including wind and solar provided almost a third of Germany’s power in the first half, they don’t work around the clock like nuclear plants do. That has caused Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to look for ways how to best stabilize the power system as it targets at least 85 percent renewable power by 2050.

The market for new storage will nevertheless expand markedly in the coming years because of increased demand from the transport and chemical sectors. Batteries for electric cars, power-to-gas and power-to-chemicals devices may reach about 160 gigawatts of capacity in 2050, according to a presentation at the event.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Postponed stamp via Shutterstock

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